Taming Mother Nature
When the "sails" pavilion was open except for its distinctive fabric roof, it did not require an HVAC system. Now that it has been enclosed, it needs one.
The assignment was handled by TMAD Engineers, which designed the HVAC system. Four air-conditioning units with a total capacity of 300 tons and two major air handlers were used. The main central plant was installed on the roof of the convention center.
Because of the size of the 90,000-sq.-ft. open area, it was nearly impossible to make the ductwork unobtrusive, according to Sam Hunter, principal in charge of TMAD's San Diego office.
Two supply-air ducts and one return duct are supported by a roof-level truss that extends through the center of the space. Because the movement of the fabric roof causes the truss to move, a flexible connection was required between the ducts and the air-handling units. Supply-air ducts run along the perimeter of the space, 8 feet above the floor.
The temperature inside the pavilion is regulated with thermostats and return-air sensors.
An enclosure wall around the rooftop equipment controls noise and shields the equipment from the view of neighboring high-rises.